OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Those Days of Luster

Perhaps it is a captured moment of memory; or, more likely, just a feeling of a time long past; there were those days of luster when everything seemed to be working in cadence, the pistons were firing away in perfect unison, the children were all behaving (relatively speaking), and life was a golden horizon yet to fulfill the dreams and hopes dared to be dreamed and hoped for.

Some days are like that; certain moments when friends and family gather together and laughter abounds; and even a year here or there throughout a person’s lifetime, where the luster of life is reflected by the sheen of success, the joy of laughter and the bright rays of hope for the future.  Those days of luster, however, can easily fade with the creases of time — by a mud splat, a moment of tremulous hesitation, or an unexpected interruption by life’s ravages, such as a medical condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, those days of luster may have come to an end and consideration must be given to filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Time is never on our side; those days of luster were always fleeting and momentary; but it is the hope for tomorrow that needs always to be sought, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may be the best bet in reclaiming those former days of luster.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Accommodations

In everyday, common and familiar usage, what does the word “accommodations” mean?  It is to go out of one’s way in order to meet the needs of someone else.  It is to try and allow for another person to fit in, to find comfort or to be allowed to remain even though some extra effort may have to be expended.

In legal terms, especially in Federal Disability Retirement Law under FERS, the term “accommodations” has a similar meaning and import.  It is that “something” which the Federal Agency or the Postal unit must do such that a person who suffers from a medical condition or disability can continue to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  It may well be that the Federal Agency or Postal Service is unable to accommodate the medical condition and, try as they might, a determination and conclusion is made that no such accommodations exist, or can be allowed for, because of the nature, extent and severity of the medical condition itself.

The “accommodation” question is one of the hurdles that must be overcome in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is a complexity in Federal Disability Retirement Law that poses many problems and greater questions.  Is the accommodation permanent or temporary?  Will it allow for the Federal or Postal worker to perform the essential elements of his or her position?  Can a future supervisor “take back” the modification allowed for, or does it become a permanent feature of the position description?

These and many other questions surround the issue of agency efforts for reassignment and accommodations, and in order to obtain clarification and move forward in a Federal Disability Retirement application, consult with a Federal Disability Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Benefits: Avoiding Bumps and Potholes

Can one tell the difference between the two?  Perhaps if you concentrate upon the jarring experience — of the sudden rise and fall, however short in the millisecond of time when the bump is encountered where the vehicle is lifted up and suddenly jolted with a sudden crash, as distinct from the unanticipated crunch of a pothole and the jarring rise when the tire groans and the shock absorbers tremble at the strain of calamity; and then the sigh of relief that the vehicle survived the impact.

Potholes go down and up; bumps go up and down; and in the split second when either are encountered, the difference felt is minuscule and essentially irrelevant, inasmuch as the concern is not as to the “type” of calamity encountered, but the consequences of that encounter.  And that is true of most difficulties involved — our interest lies not upon the initiating sequelae, but upon the problem itself, in order to attend to correcting, fixing, resolving, etc.  In other words, whether a bump or a pothole, we have to make sure that the damage done is repaired.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the “repair” is in the application for Federal Disability Retirement, and the “pothole” or “bump” is in the manner in which the Federal Disability Retirement application is prepared.

Whether at the initial stage of preparing and formulating one’s case, or at the denial/reconsideration or the MSPB stage, it is important to avoid the bumps and potholes by consulting with a lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law.

Call and consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law today, if only to avoid the bumps and potholes of a complex bureaucratic morass through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The stain of knowledge

Both remain with us; and like innocence which, once tarnished, refuses to be whitewashed, they cast a looming shadow of irreversibility upon the fragile tissue of one’s psyche.  Stains endure; knowledge persists; and once the two combine, the stain of knowledge never relinquishes its hold, whether ugly, radiant, gnawing or insidious; neutrality is rarely a chosen point upon the spectrum of unraveled ignorance.

You can ignore knowledge, and yet it surfaces from deep within one’s consciousness and reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, moments of openness and times of clarity.  You can also ignore a stain, but others take furtive glances, smile to themselves and shake their heads behind your back.  And that stain — like the indelible inkblot which smears and spreads — continues to haunt and follow no matter the number of attempts to outrun it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the stain of knowledge is that realization that one cannot continue in the career of one’s choice, and it is the realization itself that then prompts one to consider the alternatives faced: To stay, which is becoming increasingly impossible; to resign and simply walk away, which is never an intelligent option; or, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, knowledge comes in bits and pieces; at others, in a rush of overwhelming force; but when the stain of knowledge remains like the gnawing feeling that forebodes of anxious anticipation, it is time to consider options that previously may have seemed like an inkblot upon an otherwise stellar career, and consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Playing with words

What does it mean when a person alleges that you are “just playing with words”?  It is like the non-lawyer public who charges that a certain criminal “was gotten off on a technicality”, whereas the universe of lawyers sees that as a tautology:  Of course the person was found innocent based upon a “technicality” — for, isn’t all of law just that: a technicality?

There is, of course, some kind of implication that seeps beneath the surface of such a charge — that there is an inherent dishonesty in the manner of speaking certain words; that there is an “intended” or primary meaning of the usage of certain words, phrases or concepts, and that when they are taken out of context, seemingly used for a different, perhaps nefarious or self-interested purpose, then one is “playing with words” because dishonesty must by consensus be the condemnation of words used as toys in the hands of a thief.

What would the negation of the allegation be: of a person who declares suddenly, “You are not playing with words”?  Is that the appropriate charge when a person is blunt — like the current political arena of this new breed who says outright that which others merely reserve thoughts for in the privacy of insular lives?

Is that what diplomacy is substantively about — of “playing with words” so that double and triple meanings can be conveyed, leaving everyone paralyzed and motionless because no one knows what everyone else is thinking — at least, not in any precise manner?

Or, perhaps there is a different sense, as in: Words once upon a time held a sacred status and when we demean, abuse or misuse words in a certain way, then we can be charged with “playing with words”.

Sometimes, there are instances in which meanings are “stretched”, or when conclusions that are declared in an unequivocal manner do not coincide with the findings made or the evaluative analysis conducted, and so there is a “disconnect” between fact-finding and conclusion where a person declares unequivocally:  They are just playing with words.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessity.

In that event, recognize that the entire endeavor is a complex administrative and bureaucratic action that must engage the arena of “words” — and some of it may involve the “playing of words” in the sense that you may have to tinker with different sets of words where comfort and becoming comfortable with unfamiliar concepts and phraseology “come into play”.

When an individual — you — who suffers from a medical condition which you must then step “outside of yourself” in order to describe yourself in “objective” terms, then it can become an oddity which may seem like you are “playing of words”.  In such an event, it is often of great benefit to consult with an attorney so that the very person utilizing the vehicle of words in describing one’s self is not the same person “playing with words” as the very person who suffers from the descriptive words being played with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The stand-around guy

It is pointed out in contrast to the other finger pointed towards another — not the “stand up” guy (or girl), but the “stand-around” guy (or girl).   The former refers to a person who can be trusted at all times, is straightforward when asked about his or her opinions on a matter, and is generally known as an individual of “good character”.  By contrast, the latter describes a person who is unsure of himself; who loiters because he cannot decide what his purpose is for being anywhere; and is generally picked last, or next to last, when teams are chosen for a pick-up game of basketball or touch football.

It refers to a person who is the “extra” and the odd-man out where, on dinner dates of foursomes or six-somes or whatever-somes, arrives alone and makes it into an awkward three-some, five-some or other-some with an odd number.  She is the little sister tag-along, the younger brother pop-up character and the whac-a-mole that keeps reappearing no matter how many hints are given that his or her company is no longer needed, is undesired or otherwise disinvited; but to be direct and pointed to the stand-around guy would be cruelty in its worst form, as he or she doesn’t quite understand or would rather be subjected to the indignities of being the butt of all jokes rather than to be sent off into the lonely despair of self-confinement and isolation lost upon an island of one’s own thoughts.

He is the person who arrives and never knows where to stand; the last one to be seated, and only if their is an available chair vacated; and yet, the last one to leave despite the desertion of a party where he was unnoticed, never talked to nor engaged and included in conversations where circles and semi-circles of people gathered but no one noticed.

The stand-around guy is the “extra” on a movie-set hoping to get noticed, yet too fearful of such notoriety; and as the activity of the main set continues to focus upon the stars and central figures upon the stage which we call “life”, he or she shuffles about for years and extending into decades, unknowingly contributing to the drama of civilization’s inertness where kindness is rarely shown, humanity is concealed from history, and the cruelty to life’s misery keeps bubbling to the surface like a volcanic eruption percolating unnoticed beneath the seething surface of hidden appearances.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, does it often seem like the rest of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is beginning to treat you like the “stand-around guy”?

Is it recognized and subtly acknowledged that you are no longer part of that “mission”, and because of your extensive leave-usage or LWOP excessiveness, or merely because you asserted your rights under FMLA, that now relegated into that status of persona non grata, the leper who was mistakenly given a pass out of the leper colony, or like the individual who says things embarrassingly in crowds of socialites who snub their noses at those who feign to be a part of the pseudo-aristocracy?

If you are beginning to be treated like that stand-around guy, it is likely time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — lest the stand-around guy becomes the invisible man whose memory is quickly extinguished because of a removal action that came suddenly and unexpectedly from the upper echelons of powers-that-be, who decided to rid the Agency or the Postal Service of that stand-around guy whose presence was no longer needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Beyond the shutdown

What does it mean for the government to “shut down” because the Congress and the President were unable to come to a budgetary agreement?  It is often the question that is focused upon, but may be the wrong one.  The more relevant issue concerns the events that will occur after the cessation of the shut down.  What happens afterwards?  For, everyone assumes that the government will come to some sort of budgetary reconciliation, and that there will ultimately be an end to the deadlock.

The House and Senate will finally pass a spending bill, whether of a temporary, continuing resolution, or of a long-term bill that addresses the various issues each side is fighting for.  With that assumption in mind, the question becomes, What happens beyond the shutdown?

Essentially, nothing dramatic, other than that the bureaucracy of the Federal government will experience greater delays, and the shutdown merely becomes interpreted as a slowdown for goods and services, much like the picture painted of a local grocery store closing for a week, a month or many months, and where shoppers would have to find another venue to obtain their wares.  The difference between the private-sector shutdown and a Federal government shutdown, however, is that the former often allows for its competitors to take advantage of the situation, whereas the latter has no such “competitors”, as it is the only “game” in town.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of “what to do” with the shutdown should be approached with the following questions: Do we assume that the Federal Government will “reopen for business” at some point?  The general answer is: Yes.

With that assumption, should we just proceed with preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Again, the general answer is: Yes.

The “private” sector continues to operate, and so the doctors who need to submit medical reports and records can still be accessed; the standard forms still need to be prepared, and the faster one is placed into the “waiting line” for determination by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the quicker the “product” of an approved Federal Disability Retirement benefit will accrue, once the doors of the Federal Government and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are again opened for “business as usual”, beyond the shutdown that occurs from time to time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire